From U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
April 16, 2013
NEWPORT, R.I. – Capt. Kevin Brew, a professor in the U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) Joint Military Operations (JMO) department, returned last week from a mission to Nouakchott, Mauritania where he led a joint team to train Mauritanian security forces on various legal issues in counterterrorism.
The legal training was linked to a recently completed USAFRICOM exercise (FLINTLOCK) coordinated by U.S. Special Operations Africa.
The training team was sponsored by the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) which provides mobile training seminars on law and leadership to international military law partners worldwide. Other members of the team were Army Maj. David Green, who has extensive experience in support of Army special operations forces (SOF) and combined operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Marine Capt. Dave Lee of DIILS who coordinated the training mission with the U.S. Embassy Nouakchott and AFRICOM – and also has been deployed to Afghanistan.
The training was conducted in two parts with two different audiences. The first days were devoted to training of a battalion’s leadership, including the battalion commander and senior non-commissioned officers, who had come to the capital from their base at Tiguent. The second part of the training targeted a group of officers who were involved in all phases of the completed FLINTLOCK exercise.
Several of the officers were on staff at the Mauritanian military academy. All had conducted operations or training with U.S. Marine forces or U.S. SOF. According to Brew the training was clearly more of a dialogue as the Mauritanian forces,especially the officers, had an excellent grasp of the basic human rights and LOAC concepts.
As such the training (particularly the second session) went deep into various issues including the legal basis for the non-international armed conflict against al-Qaida, drone strikes, SROE/SRUF, detainee operations, operations in Afghanistan, Libya and the ongoing Syrian crisis. Current events, including Mali, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, and Guantanamo, informed the training and debates.
“I was able to weave in some JMO topics and concepts (operational art, principles of war) in addition to the DIILS legal training topics,” said Brew, explaining how he was able to draw on the NWC curriculum.
He also was impressed by the professionalism and experience of the Mauritanian forces.
“The Mauritanian forces started on time and stayed later than planned each day -- and adamantly asked for future training,” said Brew. “Many of them had recent experience in operations against al-Qaida and drew upon those operations in our discussions. So for them counterterrorism operations are not academic, but in fact real world.”
NWC continues to partner with DIILS to provide faculty for their worldwide training of international students.
“I’m glad to be part of a continued partnership between NWC and DIILS to provide this critical legal training with various partner countries. Mauritania is a key partner in the Trans-Sahara region especially regarding operations against al-Qaida (AQIM) in Mali and the area. An honor to be part of the U.S. Government’s interagency effort to develop Mauritanian counterterrorism capability in accordance with the Rule of Law,” said Brew. He looks forward to a return trip to Mauritania in the future.